Monday, June 13, 2016

The Past Is Prologue

The science fiction classic, Dune, set in a far distant future with weapons of unimaginable power, hypothesized a personal force field so effective that it forced a return to primitive knives and swords for combat (yeah, I’m glossing over a lot of stuff in the book but it serves to make the point).  ComNavOps has previously suggested that future naval combat with all its vast networks, omni-present sensors, data sharing, long range missiles, etc., will all too often devolve into WWII style gun battles.  Battles for which neither we nor our enemies are well prepared given that modern ships lack large caliber guns and armor.  To say that readers have been skeptical of this belief is to put it mildly.  That’s okay.  My purpose is to offer data and conclusions that are logical regardless of whether readers agree with them.  I’ll let my record of predictions stand for itself.

So, is ComNavOps alone in the belief that future warfare will devolve into more basic, primitive modes despite all our wonder-tech?  Well, the Army, at least, seems to be coming around to my way of thinking.

The Army desperately wants to regain relevance in the face of the Pacific Pivot’s seeming lack of use for ground forces (Russia, however, is making the Army relevant at a furious pace!).  One way to do that is to be able to provide long range, land based strike and anti-air weaponry.  Breaking Defense website offers an article on this Army vision (1).

“The crucial element of this vision isn’t any specific missile, McMaster said, but the joint network that connects the different services so they can assist each other.”

The goal is a network so flexible and all-encompassing that, for example, a US or allied aircraft can spot an enemy ship, then pass the targeting information to a land-based missile battery to sink it.”

However, as we’ve often pointed out, belief that our networks, distributed sensors, and data sharing will function flawlessly and seamlessly in an electromagnetically contested environment is foolish, at best.  As Breaking Defense says,

“In such a conflict, of course, the invisible war of electrons to deceive sensors, jam transmissions and to hack computers is at least as important as the physical battle. You can’t count on your network always working against a sophisticated adversary …”

Even upper levels of the civilian military leadership seem to be grasping at least a little of this.

“So our networks must be designed to degrade gracefully, Work [Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert Work] said, and our minds must be able to cope with losing them. Local commanders must be ready to fight in the dark on their own initiative, guided by a common understanding of the mission and a deep trust in their comrades. “You can configure your network in different ways,” he said, “but you have to be ready for the network to kind of disassemble, and then people to operate on a local level.”

So, DepSecDef Work recognizes that our networks are vulnerable and we must be prepared to revert to basic, close up combat.  Of course, that leads one to question why we’re basing our entire Third Offset Strategy on exactly that belief in flawlessly functioning networks, data sharing, unmanned vehicles, and autonomous weapons but, I digress ...  The point is that the Army and senior military leadership can see the possibility (I call it a certainty) that combat will devolve to local levels, divorced from the grand, all-seeing, all-controlling network of co-ordinated, precision fires that we like to believe we will have.

Are we ready for such devolved combat?

“Right now, we’re not ready for such scenarios, McMaster [Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster] made clear. ‘We’ve developed systems that are exquisite and could be prone to catastrophic failures’ instead of degrading gracefully, he said. The fragility and complexity of existing networks is such, he added to rueful laughter, that some of them don’t need an enemy to break them. They just go down in day-to-day operations without facing hostile action of any kind.”

And yet we’re basing out entire Third Offset Strategy on these networks???  But, I digress …

Is that the limit of the devolution of combat?  No …

“ ‘Many existing systems also broadcast continually in all directions at high power, he [McMaster] said. Against a sophisticated enemy, that’s basically putting up big flashing neon arrows labeled “WE ARE HERE.” We need to relearn techniques for concealment, camouflage, and deception — in the visual, infra-red, and radio frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum — that our adversaries have been refining for years.

McMaster warned that, ‘our enemies have become more and more elusive, and we’ve become almost transparent.’ “

So, we need to relearn the age old basic techniques of warfare like concealment, camouflage, and deception. 

So, our networks are vulnerable?  I’d like further proof, please.  OK …

“Inspired in large part by Russian successes against Ukraine, McMaster said, ‘we’re doing a vulnerability assessment on our force. What are we vulnerable to? — (and) topping that list is cyber and electronic warfare.’

That vulnerability means you can never be sure your sensors won’t be blinded or your intelligence deceived — which means, in turn, that your long-range precision-guided weapons will sometimes go to precisely the wrong place. Then you need to send in the ground troops to ‘develop situational awareness in close contact with the enemy [and] the population,’ McMaster said. Even with the most advanced long-range technology, he said, at some point, ‘you’ll probably have a close fight.’ “

So, the Army sees a vulnerability in our dependence on networks, intricate sensors, data sharing, and so forth?  Isn’t that what ComNavOps has been preaching for years?

You caught the part about, “… at some point, ‘you’ll probably have a close fight’”?  For all our standoff, precision fires, Gen. McMaster believes we’ll wind up having close up battles?  Shades of WWII !!!

Having established that the Army believes it likely that we’ll lose our grand networks when combat starts – so why are we basing our Third Offset Strategy on networks? – we can pretty reasonably extrapolate that the Navy will also lose their networks, data sharing, co-operative engagement, distributed sensors, etc. which means that the Navy will find itself fighting much like our WWII fathers did:  mostly blind with only short range sensing and awareness.  Opposing naval forces will literally stumble upon each other at shockingly close range (remember to factor in IFF issues when your situational awareness only extends to the horizon).  Missiles will be spoofed by ECM.  Missile guidance signals will be disrupted.  In short order, the opposing forces will be within gun range and the result will be a WWII-style naval gun battle.  That’s a battle that the US Navy is ill-equipped to wage.

The Future Of Naval Warfare?

There’s nothing wrong with having missiles and networks and data sharing and co-operative engagement.  Hey, it may work some of the time!  However, we should be prepared for the inevitable high tech failure and have a basic, low end combat capability to back it up.  We need to re-equip our ships with larger caliber guns, heavy torpedoes, and armor.  We need to be able to wage a gun battle and win.

The Army agrees with me.  Now, I just need to get the Navy on board.


(1) Breaking Defense website, “What Lessons Do China’s Island Bases Offer The US Army?, Sydney Freedberg Jr., 5-May-2016,


  1. As for your general thesis about the degradation in real combat of networked systems: in principle, yes of course, though I have no idea how far and by what means networking could be protected (and I hope that anyone who knows, won't tell).

    As for your conclusion that what the USN needs for low-tech combat after high-tech failure - bigger guns, heavy torpedoes, armour - I would ask:

    In circumstances where the USN high-tech networks have collapsed, would not the USN also have ensured that their enemies' high-tech networks (in as far as they have any) had collapsed also?

    If both sides are down to low-tech systems, do any likely opponents have heavily-armoured surface ships with big guns? If not, why would the USN need either? Is the armour to protect against low-tech aircraft or missiles coming in visually? If so, aren't there more effective defences?

    If it comes to heavy torpedoes, what possible armour could protect USN ships from under-the-keel explosions?

    1. Of course the enemy's networks won't work any better than ours. That was the premise of the post - that both sides would be reduced to up close, gun battles. I assume you don't really believe that, anticipating that scenario, we should accept parity and call it quits? If we anticipate that type of warfare, why wouldn't we install larger guns and more armor?

      As far as the value of armor, you clearly have not thought out the role and purpose of armor. Read this post, Armor and then we can talk again.

    2. Given gun-to-gun engagements at purely visual range, I don't know. At night (Savo Island)? In poor visibility? In sub-parity conditions (River Plate)?

      Given low-tech aircraft and missiles coming in at visual or not-far-off-it range, I'm not sure how far armour would help better than other defences would.

      As for torpedoes, armour and big guns helps how, exactly?

    3. Did you read the armor post?

    4. I read your post on armor. The .50 caliber is a good starting point and 1/2-in steel plate offers some protection. But, many ships and aircraft are armed with 20mm to 30mm cannons which would require thicker armor to provide the same level of protection, leading to a heavier ship.

      Providing they could evade a ship's defenses, imagine the damage a Su-25 or Su-33 with their 30mm cannons could inflict on a Burke or LCS.

      Also, adding armor can affect a ship's ability to maneuver. For example, the Navy went with 30mm mounts instead of the heavier 57mm mounts originally planned for the Zumwalt class.

    5. You say you read the post but your comment indicates that you completely missed the point of the post and the purpose of armor.

    6. Your point is that any armor is better than no armor at all.

      My point is that there is a trade off when it comes to applying armor (i.e., extra weight) to a ship. Too little armor and not enough protection is provided. Too much armor and the ship becomes unbalanced and unmaneuverable.

      While the cost of steel is cheap, the cost of welding hundreds, maybe thousands, of steel plate is not. As you well know, welding is a very labor intensive process. That's where your costs are.

      But, say one added 300-400 tons of armor, be it steel plate, Kevlar, or otherwise, to a Burke class. Would she still be as maneuverable? Would she have to offload fuel or supplies to carry the extra weight?

    7. You do realize that every warship built in WWII had extensive armor and yet they managed to be fast and maneuverable. You seem to have some unrealistic ideas about armor!

      Research any of the destroyers, cruisers, or battleships of WWII and compare their armor fits to today's ships. It's horribly depressing to see what we've given up in the way of protection.

  2. I think people also underestimate the lack of war stocks - I think it's quite likely that we will run out of missiles fairly quickly and it takes too long to build new ones to be of any use.

    The Royal Navy and the Space Shuttle are now both starting to 3D print parts on-board so this may improve things as time goes on - maybe we can get better at replacing EMP-damaged parts etc.

    I'm asuming that targetting sensors etc will go so how good are our optical targetting systems - most rely on electronics too.

    1. Lack of missile inventory is an excellent point and, again, makes old fashioned, up close combat more likely.

  3. Theres no reason why a (none ballistic) long ranged missile cant be fired at point blank range.
    Gun ranged combat doesnt require guns :)

    The Donbass Camapgin has seen the almost total shut down of the entire EMS by both sides, at will.
    But whilst there are land based disposable jammers, and air based mobile jammers, they arent, to my knowledge, CB90 style deployable naval jamming platforms.

    1. I'm not sure I followed you. You seem to be suggesting a ballistically fired missile at very close range? There's several problems with that.

      1. A vertically launched missile (from a VLS) can't be aimed/launched in a ballistic mode.
      2. Missiles have a safe minimum distance before they'll "arm". I don't know what that is for any given missile but gun ranges of several miles may be too short for missiles to arm.
      3. If you're talking about AAW missiles, those are insufficient to disable any ship bigger than a patrol craft.
      4. To the best of my knowledge, the US does not have optical aiming modes for any of its missiles.

      As far as ship based jammers, the SEWIP upgrades to the SLQ-32 will eventually include a jammer. None currently exist that I can think of.

    2. Ballistic missiles have minimum ranges, just due to physics.

      None ballistic have them purely as a safety concern.
      Theres no reason a Harpoon or a Brahmos cant be fired at a target 300metres away, beyond we've told them not to operate as such.

      A bit like we used to fuse bombs so they wouldnt arm if they dropped from too low and endangered the aircraft dropping them.

      "4. To the best of my knowledge, the US does not have optical aiming modes for any of its missiles."
      Funnily enough thats my main concern with VLS cells.
      It should be very easy to rig a box launcher with its own power, manually point and shoot it, and allow it to operate even if the rest of the ship is killed.

      "As far as ship based jammers, the SEWIP upgrades to the SLQ-32 will eventually include a jammer. None currently exist that I can think of."
      Its not just jammers, its having them based off ship, home on jam is a valid targetting system.
      Land based Jammers are disposable, airbased operate in tandem with hard kill systems.

  4. Before I left the Marines all the new computer stuff required battalion HQs to run a loud generator at all times, which could be heard for over a mile away. One could navigate with the sound and estimate the distance. I wondered if enemy mortars and acoustic missiles could find it. I don't know of solution.

  5. For aircraft,, there have been shortaes of precision bombing ISIS, which means precision weapons have no chance of lasting a nation state war.

  6. They run short because of the large war stocks that must not be touched in preparation for the large scale war we all hope never comes.
    Enough reserve stocks rest in arsenals and friendly allied hands to ensure at least a few weeks worth of hard combat, at current lethality levels, that should be enough.

    1. How can said war stocks be transferred to active war zones, without being intercepted? I would say it would be wiser to ships sail with full combat loads, which currently they do not. And im higley sceptical that are war stocks are at the levels the should be, due to shelf life reasons. For example bgm-71 missiles have a 5 year shelf life or else they become unreliable, and thats with ideal storage.

    2. Warships sail with the weapons loads that are appropriate for their missions. A ship sailing off the coast of the US will have few munitions aboard. A ship sailing the South China Sea will have many more munitions. If war seemed likely, ships would carry full loads.

      Shelf life is an issue. Missiles, in particular, undergo periodic checks and, when necessary, are returned to the manf or depot maintenance for refurbishment. Of course, that process can not go on indefinitely. Our Harpoons are at the end of their lives, for example. If we don't replace them soon, we'll have no usable anti-ship weapon.

    3. Andrew, war stocks have always been transferred to war zones, often during combat, often after hostilities have broken out. Its called logistics supply chains, ideally, they're well run, protected, and diversified.
      Most planners agree with you to an extent, hence, US keeps enormous war stocks, not just in the continental US, but, enormous amounts in Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Israel, Oman, etc etc etc.

      As to shelf life issues, and things like that, a very large part of the military budget goes to maintenance of weapons and platforms that will never ever be used, but you do it just in case.
      Eg, those bone yards in Nevada that house thousands of planes? The cost of keeping a plane there is anywhere from a few 10's of thousand per year, to a few million dollars per year, depending on the state of refurbishment at which you'd like to keep that asset.
      Nothing is free, but as long as the faucet doesnt run dry, war stocks are there, and ready for use.

    4. I agree with everything you and CNO said. The forward staging of munitions and supplies is vital. But, my main concern is war sometimes happens unexpectedly, and our supply depots will probably be an intial target in any attack and should be discounted from serious wargame plans. It would make senses to have ships fully combat ready, in case we need to flex ships and assets from theatre to another quickly. In addition to that, I feel that logistical transportation is lacking both in quantity and capability. Not alot of merchant marine or civilian cargoships have the necessary equipment to replenish ordnance at sea.

    5. Andrew, wars do not just spontaneously happen. The actual first day of a war may come as a surprise (Pearl Harbor) but the events leading up to it are clear for many months and years previous. To continue with the Pear Harbor example, the US knew war with Japan was inevitable. Only the exact starting date was unknown and even that was strongly suspected within a few week range of days.

      The point is that as war begins to look more and more likely, there will be ample opportunity for supplies to be moved.

      For example, right now, we're repositioning troops, equipment, and supplies in response to Russian threats.

      Your second point, that we lack logistics transportation is quite true and is a major weakness. Good observation.

    6. "Warships sail with the weapons loads that are appropriate for their missions. A ship sailing off the coast of the US will have few munitions aboard. A ship sailing the South China Sea will have many more munitions. If war seemed likely, ships would carry full loads."

      In theory, yes, in practice...
      Poland cancelled its mobilisation less than 24 hours before Germany Invaded in 1939.
      Kuwait was almost entirely unable to resist Iraq in 1990 because its munitions were all locked up, and the general staff refused to issue them, to avoid provoking Iraq...
      One Chinese Fortress fell to the Japanese, because they had lost the keys to open the doors.

      If your ships are unarmed, they will have to go to port to take on arms, I suppose thats a day, if you do it obviously, but could be three months if you do it quietly. If you do it quickly, all ships turn and speed for port, you signal to the enemy that right now is a perfect time to strike.

      Relying on *Taking Notice* of warning is wildly dangerous

      Egypt, despite actually planning the war, lost its entire airforce to a first strike!
      How much more warning can you ask for than you declaring war, and still it wasnt enough.

    7. The warnings are clear. Whether you use the time wisely is another issue.

  7. ComNavOps,
    Every battle group has at least one Arliegh Burke with it, usually 2, each on of those puppies has a search radar on its lonesome with a range of 100+nm.
    Even if the network goes down, thats an arsenal ship with over 30 strike missiles that can sink any opposing fleets on its own moxie, and still provide air cover the battle group, that will be sailing within its radar umbrella.
    So im not sure where in that scenario your guns ahoy blazing battles could take place.

    As to the lethality of anti ship missiles, look to Arab-Israeli and India-Pakistan wars of the 70's to see how they turn out. There was no networked control system operating then, just missile boats with independent radars that could see 20 nm, about 3 times the distance of the horizon. No guns were fired in those battles, so again, where do those gun battles take place in modern navies?

    1. Both Naval battles of the Yom Kippur War saw guns used...

    2. Thst assumes you still have your targetting radar.

    3. Well, no planes fly the friendly skies of Ukraine any more, for obvious reasons, and both SAM intercepts happened, using Radar, in a very hostile EW environment. No one is saying Radars will stop working, just that the network will disappear, Radar might be reduced, but still, will almost certainly work, and much further than visual line of sight.
      And TrT, where'd you get that from? Both naval battles pretty much took the same course, spoofing Soviet missiles (enticing them to miss, etc) retaliatory volley, and skeddale back to port.

    4. I'm saying radars will stop working with an EMP attack - even Aegis is not suffiently hardened in my opinion - I'm not talking about EW.

    5. "No one is saying Radars will stop working, just that the network will disappear, Radar might be reduced ..."

      Nate, you have it exactly right. Radar will be reduced in effectiveness, not eliminated. Seeing a giant, non-stealthy, commercial aircraft is not a challenge even for a reduced effectiveness radar!

    6. "And TrT, where'd you get that from? Both naval battles pretty much took the same course, spoofing Soviet missiles (enticing them to miss, etc) retaliatory volley, and skeddale back to port."

      Nate, gunfire did play a prominent though secondary role. Check the Wiki description of the Battle of Baltim.

    7. "I'm saying radars will stop working with an EMP attack"

      I've deliberately not talked about EMP in posts. That's a separate issue. None of us have sufficient information to intelligently discuss EMP, either the generation thereof or the results. We have no idea to what extent, if any, any given piece of naval electronics is hardened.

      It probably doesn't matter because if EMP effects are widespread, no ships on either side will be moving so there won't be any ship to ship combat!

    8. "Every battle group has at least one Arliegh Burke with it, usually 2, each on of those puppies has a search radar on its lonesome with a range of 100+nm.
      Even if the network goes down, thats an arsenal ship with over 30 strike missiles that can sink any opposing fleets on its own moxie, ..."

      The 100+ mile radar range you're referencing is for aerial targets. Ships do not have surface search radars with 100 mile range. That's one of the major problems with the distributed lethality concept.

      In an electromagnetically challenged environment, radar ranges will be significantly reduced, making it more likely that opposing groups will "stumble" across each other.

      Burkes do not carry anti-ship missiles. Even the rack launched Harpoons have largely been removed from ship service. Standard missiles can function in an anti-ship mode but are not even remotely lethal for a ship of any size. They will not stop an enemy naval group which, again, suggests that combat may start at longer ranges but will conclude at close range.

  8. As the airforce during vietnam learned, missiles have limitations and the need for a gun remains. Armor is still needed, as proven by the army. This current argument aptly named "the past is prologue" echos the argument from nearly 110 years ago. The capital ship vs the juene ecole theory, aka lots of small ships with dispersed firepower. Currently the USN wants lots of small ships armed with networking munitions, the LCS. History has shown us small ships are not the winner of conflicts, they have neither the firepower to be decisive or the armor to sustain drawn out battle of attrition. Capitial ships do. So why do we continue to ignore these leasons learned? Becuse we think we know better then they did, and technology is the save all.

    1. The Gods of the Copybook Headings!

    2. To be honest, why don't you write a book on this blog and the topics that have been covered? Who knows, might be the next "The influence of sea power opon history."

    3. Most readers print out the blog posts and have them bound as a book so that they can carry the cumulative wisdom with them at all times. :)

    4. Oh. Think of all the poor trees. :)

    5. No nobler end for a tree than to carry the Wisdom Of The Blog!

      I've had trees come up to me and ask me to cut them down and write on them - generally after a late night at the bar, so ......

  9. CNOPs, something strange has happened. Your blog records 23 comments: when I try to add one (in which I largely agree with you) I have access only to the first. Is this an example of hostile degradation of electronic communications?

    1. I checked and I have access to every comment even as a regular reader. I don't know what to tell you other than to exit the site and then return and see if that clears things up for you. I have very limited access to the workings of the blog so there's nothing I can do to help you. Sorry!

  10. CNO,

    Great topic!

    I do not think we will return to the era of capitol ships, but a judicial application of armor to modern warships is definitely useful. DDG-51 did not go far enough.

    There are many misconceptions about armor (more properly passive protection) and what it can, and cannot do.

    1. Armor is not a panacea – plenty of armored warships were sunk or damaged beyond economical repair.

    2. However, Armor *can* prevent easy kills of units, limit the severity of damage, and save personnel. Armor also makes the enemy work harder to design and pay for weapons: this is the essence of deterance.

    3. The USN used to use STS steel (armor roughly equivalent to HY100 steel) liberally even in building low end ships like destroyers. Weapons have changed

    4. The cost of modest armor: HY100 for all structural members; armored bulkheads; and 3” of armor around magazines, control spaces (CIC, CCS/main control, repair lockers); spall shields; redundant wiring runs/fire mains/data trunks is likely to add about 20% of the hull costs (not total ship cost). This is significant, but represents a small fraction of the total ownership cost of a warship (perhaps 6-8%).

    5. Most armor weight would be low in the ship and actually help with stability – the trend in modern ships is to move weight (e.g. AN/SPY radar) higher in the ship at the same time propulsion machinery is more compact and light weight.

    6. Explosions follow the path of least resistance, and attenuate in energy by the inverse cube root, which makes armor most effective against blast type weapons (most non hypersonic cruise missiles).

    7. The navy must address PPE for topside personnel. Ground forces found out real quick in the GWOT that armor saves; but look at the protective equipment of sailors manning exposed positions like 25mm guns (if they even have gun shields) and it is obvious that the USN is still operating “Hollywood style”.


    1. GAB, you might want to check out a previous post on armor if you haven't already seen it. See, Armor

    2. I'm not advocating a return to all-gun, armored ships but I do believe a return to WWII-level armor is warranted. A Burke should have the equivalent of an Atlanta class light cruiser which, ironically, was considered to be lightly armored. They had 1.25" on up to 3.5" on the hull sides.

    3. I'm not sure armour is the right word, more, sturdy, than armoured.
      It seems scary that a tank, or even an IFV, has better hull armour than a modern warship

      That said, there are limits, anti tank weapons are limited by whats man portable, anti ship weapons are not, you arent keeping out a big AShM, but you can deeply limit the damage caused, with ablative armour, spaced armour, all of which should be easy on a ship, even just layering the outer hull with liquids tanks.

    4. Too many people have the absolutely idiotic idea that if a given armor can't completely stop the most powerful weapon in an enemy's arsenal then armor is pointless. This degree of stupidity is beyond belief. Credit to you, TrT, that you seem to understand that the purpose of armor is to mitigate damage. If a level of armor can completely stop some weapons, all the better, but that's not a requirement.

      You also seem to understand that there are many developments in the field of armor that the Navy could adopt but has steadfastly and stupidly refused to do.

      Good for you!

    5. CNO,

      Check out Strales system on Otto Marelas 76mm gun.
      Super rapid, putting 120 rounds down range in 60 seconds, each one precision guided. In other words, in a 10 second burst, you can take out the bridge, radio antenna, whatever radar's you chose, plus whatever naval artillery your opponent may have on his deck.

      Naval artillery is deadly these days, needed or not.
      Magazines on modern combat ships are armoured. Albeit not with 300mm thick steel belts, but with kevlar sheets, carbon fibre mats, fire retardants, etc.

      USN carriers have torpedo belts, although, they're not made of enormous steel rings, but, the fuel the carriers cary for the rest of the fleet (nuclear powered remember? Carrier is essentially a supply depot for its tenders) is housed in enormous tanks that run the length of the hull, they are supposed to absorb torpedo strikes, and spill a gut load of oil into the water. Not pretty, but effective.

      Just dont believe everything is as doom and gloom as you state.

    6. Nate, I follow all types of naval weapons. Every one, when new, promised unheard of accuracy, rate of fire, lethality, flexibility, etc. Know how many have turned out to be good weapons? Very, very few.

      The Mk110 57mm gun on the LCS promised everything you described for the Oto Melara 76 mm and more. It was claimed to be pinpoint accurate, 220 rds/min, 6-mode programmable ammunition, horrifically lethal, etc. It would revolutionize naval gunnery. A single ship, equipped with just one of these guns, would win any war in 24 hours. What was the reality? The Mk110 can't hit a skyscraper floating on the ocean, the feed system is a hindrance, it's not very lethal for the intended use, and the Zumwalt program opted not to use it in favor of a gun half the size.

      Is the OM 76 the wonder weapon you describe? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. Your description of the results of a 10 sec burst are hilarious. No gun in the world has that accuracy and effectiveness (though every gun claims it!). Watch some YouTube videos of actual gun firings from ships (not staged manufacturer's tests) and you'll see that the accuracy is nowhere near what's claimed. Look at the tests against small boats, regardless of gun caliber, and you'll see that accuracy is poor and stopping power is extremely poor.

      Before you fall prey to manufacturer's brochures, read up on the history of installed guns and critically analyze the few live fire, semi-realistic videos that are in the public domain. Then, ask yourself what the odds are that whatever gun you're currently enthused about has suddenly solved all the problems that plague every other naval gun?

      Is the Oto 76mm a solid, capable gun? Maybe. I haven't seen any real world testing. Is it what you claim it to be? Certainly not. Odds are it's like every other gun - some strong points and lots of weak points.

      You would think that modern naval guns would be worlds more effective than WWII guns and yet, objectively, there is little or no evidence to support that belief and lots of evidence disproving it. Look at the Vincennes incident gunnery (a dismal failure) or the Praying Mantis oil rig gunnery attempts (ineffective). Look at the Mk110 results as reported by DOT&E (systemic inaccuracies). Look at the LCS 30mm gun reports (can't keep them working). There's not a lot of data out there but what's there does nothing to support claims of modern miracle guns.

    7. Sorry,
      What you're saying is simply not right.
      Its the Strela guided rounds which are what makes the system what it is. Not the gun platform firing them, the shells have active guidance, capable of making some 40 course adjustments over the ballistic flight path. There are a few you tube videos available of testing, where 3 shells are fired and intercept 3 guided missiles inbound. these are precision guided munitions, not a gun that fires true. So yes, a 10 second burst, throwing 20 guided 10kg bombs at pre defined points of your ship, will knock it to kingdom come.

      So, modern naval artillery, aint about the gun throwing the shell down range, its about the shell being a guided munition, and they're getting better each day.

    8. "So, modern naval artillery, aint about the gun throwing the shell down range, its about the shell being a guided munition, and they're getting better each day."

      Most projectile technology can be adapted to different calibers (see the 5" version of AHEAD).

      The 76mm gun is likely a bad fit as a general purpose weapon. It fires a small projectile with limited bursting charge size (weight), but it is big enough that it does not have a super rate of fire.

      The 100 MM French and Russian weapons are beasts with much larger projectiles and similar ROF.

      I cannot image any useful scenario where a warship closes to within 9 nm to shoot another warship with a 76mm gun and a bursting charge of 1-1.5 lbs of explosive filler. You could shoot the entire ready service ammunition load ~80 rounds and the rest of the magazine (say 160 rounds) and deliver about as much HE on target as a single 8"/203mm weapon!

      This simply is not good enough. It likely would not be enough to shoot-up a large diesel and stop an enemy merchant ship either


    9. "Its the Strela guided rounds which are what makes the system what it is."

      I have no idea what a Strela round is. I can find no such thing in an Internet search other than a Soviet/Russian Strela guided missile. I'm guessing you mean Strales and that you specifically are referring to the DART guided round. If so, here's what I've found on DART from a cursory search.

      1. DART is very small, around 7 lbs, with what appears to be around a 600 g explosive in the warhead. That's not going to hurt a ship!

      2. DART is intended as a close-in AAW round with the ability to engage small boats. It is not advertised as an anti-ship weapon - understandable given the tiny explosive charge.

      3. DART is a fragmentation round and has no direct impact or penetrating mode. Again, ineffective against ships.

      4. DART is short ranged, around 4-5 miles.

      5. DART is an RF beam rider and follows the ship's tracking radar. I'm not aware of any ship tracking radar that can distinguish individual points of a ship. Thus, DART simply impacts the "center mass" of the tracked target.

      In short, you appear to have taken the DART description and wildly and incorrectly applied it to come up with your scenario.

      I don't mean to be harsh but if DART is the round you're talking about, your assessment is not supported by the available information.

      If you're talking about some other round, give me a link because I can find no reference to it.

  11. To Extend the Dune example of yours , in the novel , the Imperial and other world's soldiers are accostumed in Shield Fighting , which means they need to slow down their final strike in order to penetrate the shield..

    however their nemesis the Fremen people in arrakis never fight like that , because the desert of arrakis and it's nasty giant sandworm prohobit the use of shield..

    so the imperial and other world soldiers , who trained constantly in shield fighting , suddenly faced a non shielded combat , but their reflexes are attuned to the shield fighting , thus they are at disadvantage of the fremen way of fighting..


    Over Dependence on Technology will cause nasty surprise if somehow that technology failed in the next war..

  12. The problem with American military exercises and assumptions is that they assume that everything will be ideal for the US.

    That means that American technology works perfectly, while the enemy countermeasures fail 100 percent of the time.

    The real world is not like that. It is a 2 way Murphy's Law snafu.

    1. Do you genuinely believe that your military is so incompetent?

      Or is that an arm chair generals view of whats happening? I only ask because as a former soldier ive taken part in training events, and one thing i can promise you, is that they're nothing like what you imagine them to be. Admittedly, that wasn't the USA but, we sure modelled a lot of our training on theirs, and we used their equipment exclusively.

    2. Nate, no one said the military is incompetent - though I'll say that our leadership is utterly incompetent. What AltandMain said, and I've repeatedly said, is that our military makes unrealistic threat assumptions and it shows in the types of exercises we conduct and the assumptions we put into the weapons we develop and purchase. I've documented this ad nauseam throughout this blog.

    3. Basically CNO said it.

      You gotta remember that there are a ton of gaps and points of failure in the technology dependent approach. The most advanced American technology has to work perfectly in synchronization.

      If even cog goes under, it could undermine the whole reliance on weapons systems.

      Worse, so much money has been sunk on these issues that there is less money for training, maintenance, and cheaper, perhaps more reliable workhorses.

      An example, Ship construction for ultra costly high tech platforms gets too much of the total pie.

    4. Oops, meant to say if even one cog goes under, it doesn't work out.


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